Thursday, December 15, 2011

Did new probate judge fail to please the county chairman?

WHY WOULD A person accept an appointment by the governor to the top judiciary job in the county then declare within a few weeks that he wouldn't seek a full term in next year's election? Right. It made me wonder, too.

The authorized version from Todd McKenney, who resigned his seat in the Ohio House to succeed retired Summit County Probate Court Judge Bill Spicer, was that he didn't want to be distracted from the court's business by campaigning in "difficult" primary and general elections.

The unauthorized version is that Summit County Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff decided that the probate court wasn't big enough for him and McKenney. According to several politically active lawyers - Republicans and Democrats - that I talked to, the split occurred when McKenney made a couple of appointments to the MRDD and Metro Parks boards that conflicted with the chairman's well protected private stock..

It wasn't at all out of character for Arshinkoff to explode and send an emissary to McKenney advising him that he would not be supported by the party (i.e., Alex) in a primary race for the job. And indeed, there would have been a primary as Republican Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty has declared her candidacy for the Probate bench. (Her opponent will be Democratic Common Pleas Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer.)

Without party money, it would have been so much harder for McKenney to hold on to the seat that has long been a gleam in the Democrats' eye.


David Hess said...

It's one think for Kingmaker Alex to exercise his patronage prerogative, quite another to be so cowardly as to send an "emissary" to do his dirty work.

Anonymous said...

I believe this was planned from the beginning, I just don't believe that McKenney knew about it.

Follow me. If Judge McCarty had accepted the appointment and lost to Stormer, she would be out of a job. However, she is now able to run from safety.

It struck me as odd that for a position as important to Alex as Probate Court that he would pick a newly elected State Rep. that is unknown to most of the county. It would have made more sense to have picked a seasoned judge who had positive name id around the county. One problem though: It was too much of a risk for a sitting judge to give up their safe seat in exchange for a possible one year appointment to probate court.

Flash forward to now, you have a well known republican judge running from safety.